Many teachers feel like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to complete all of their necessary tasks. Between lesson planning, grading assignments, and administrative work, it can be a struggle to find time to connect with students or enjoy personal time with family.
What if there was a way to add a few extra minutes to the day by streamlining some of the more mundane tasks? This is where the exciting potential of artificial intelligence (AI) comes in.
With the rapid advancements in generative AI tools, like ChatGPT, teachers may have a new solution to help them tackle their workload. By using AI as a teaching assistant, educators can free up some of their time and redirect it to more meaningful tasks, like student engagement or self-care. The idea may seem too good to be true, but with the right approach, AI can be a powerful tool in the classroom.
Submit your learning target, grade level, and other relevant details, like length of the class period and whether or not you want to integrate technology. Then, ask the AI for lesson plan ideas. You’ll be amazed at the great ideas you receive that can jump-start your planning. You may even receive an entire lesson that you can use with a few minor adjustments.
There are a growing number of companies that are integrating AI functionality into unique apps. For instance, Packback offers a suite of tools, including the “Fact-Check the AI” Assignment Generator, which allows you to generate essays with factual errors (and an answer key) for your students to find and correct. These tools give you ready-made learning activities that can engage your students and teach them using AI tools and integration. If you’re looking to generate review questions, tools like QuestionWell provide the ability to conveniently export questions to popular platforms, like Kahoot!, Quizizz, and Quizlet.
Provide your learning outcomes and the relevant lesson or unit details, and then ask the chatbot for assessment ideas. Consider asking for a variety of formats in order to meet the diverse needs of your learners. You might even get enough ideas that you can offer your students with multiple choices.
Paste in your learning outcomes and assignment description and ask the chatbot to create a rubric for you. Be sure to tell it how you want the rubric structured and that you want it in table format. This can be a great follow-up question to asking for a lesson plan or assessment ideas.
This can be especially helpful when creating practice activities or exemplars. Rather than creating these from scratch yourself, ask the chatbot to do it for you. For instance, provide 10 vocabulary words and ask the AI to write an original story using those 10 words. Tell the AI that the story should be written for a third grader (or whatever grade you teach). Then, ask the chatbot to generate five comprehension questions related to that story and provide an answer key. Read over the results and modify as needed. In a few minutes, you will have the materials you need for your lesson. You can adjust this process to align with your own classroom subjects and learning outcomes. To get started, ask yourself, “What can this artificial intelligence do for me to save me time creating materials for my lesson?”
PBL is a powerful way to engage students in high-level learning. However, it can be challenging to meet with each student to support their individual needs and answer their questions. A.J. Juliani has developed a guide for using AI to support this type of learning in your classroom, with his resource, The Complete Guide to Using AI in Project-Based Learning and Genius Hour. Review this blog post to discover how you can use AI as a teaching assistant during project-based learning and find ways to make implementation effective and much more manageable.
Provide content and ask the AI to generate discussion questions. Be sure to indicate age and grade levels as well as the level of cognitive complexity you are seeking. You may need to fine-tune these, but it’s a great way to get started. AI tools like Parlay Genie are specifically designed for this purpose.
Ask the AI chatbot to rewrite content at multiple reading levels while maintaining the validity of the content. This can provide you with materials to support multiple reading levels in your classroom. You could also ask for suggestions for modifying content, practice activities, and assessments.
Leverage AI add-ons and third-party programs to speed up the creation of multimedia materials for your classroom. Examples include slideshow creation tools, like SlidesGPT, which prompts you for a topic and helps build a first draft of a slideshow, and Canva, which includes an app tab to the left and assistants to help you create slideshows, images, and more. SlidesAI is a Google Slides AI assistant add-on that you can install for free.
If AI can answer some of your students’ burning questions, it will free you up to work with those students who need you in a one-to-one setting. Programs like Khan Academy’s Khanmigo are showing great potential as student tutors and study partners. With AI learning supports and guided activities for students, as well as instructional materials and informative feedback dashboards for the teacher, tools like Khanmigo can be transformational. Khanmigo even has a teaching assistant component that guides teachers through a lesson planning process. Khanmigo is arguably one of the best current examples of what is currently possible with AI in the classroom.
Paste student writing into a chatbot and ask for specific feedback. Tell it what to critique: mechanics, supporting ideas, etc. You probably don’t want to offload grading of writing entirely to a chatbot, as you know your student and the context in which the writing was produced. Still, AI may be able to help you speed up your analysis of the work.
You need to be a little careful with this one, as you want to be involved in any assessment task. That said, AI can help save you time with grading. An increasing number of learning tools contain self-grading quizzes and learning activities. Objective-type questions can be scored quite effectively with these tools. Subjective responses, like short-answer, essays, or papers, require a more nuanced approach. Still, pasting student work into AI along with a rubric can provide you with a starting point for an evaluation. It can also suggest verbiage to use for feedback on the writing. Some learning platforms are beginning to integrate this feature into their products, with more sure to come as AI continues to improve.
Paste a block of text you’ve written into a chatbot like ChatGPT and ask the AI to offer suggestions for improving it. In fact, that’s what we did with the introduction to this article. ChatGPT helped us reduce redundancy and improve fluency. You can decide what suggestions to accept and which to ignore, but it can be a big time-saver.
Microsoft Outlook is building this feature directly into its product, and Google also has plans to do this with Gmail. Even if you don’t use one of these programs, you can copy and paste a message into a chatbot, and then ask the AI to compose a response. Be sure to provide the important details that you want included, and then edit the draft to meet your needs. This can be especially helpful if you have a difficult email to write, and you’re not sure how to approach it tactfully.
This list should be read as a sampling of ideas to get you started. You will likely find many more applications once you begin using artificial intelligence in your own work. This experience can be the best teacher. Of course, be sure to network with your colleagues and share ideas. The larger your support team, the faster you can grow with AI, and the more time you can save.
Extend Your Learning
- AI Required: Teaching in a New World with Ethan Mollick | ASU+GSV 2023 (Global Silicon Valley)
- A Guide to Prompting AI (for What It Is Worth) (One Useful Thing)
- Leveraging ChatGPT: Practical Ideas for Educators (ASCD)
- Teach with GPT (Packback Labs)